[ RadSafe ] Even Low-Level Radioactivity Is Damaging, Scientists Conclude

Cary Renquist cary.renquist at ezag.com
Thu Nov 15 18:26:31 CST 2012

Surprised that I haven't seen this one posted here...
Some sort of meta-study of high-background areas around the world -- looking at all sorts of critters including nekkid apes and all sorts of negative effects...
Started with 5000 papers and ended up using 46 (probably took a while to find the ones that matched their hypothesis).

Even Low-Level Radioactivity Is Damaging, Scientists Conclude
Mousseau and co-author Anders Møller of the University of Paris-Sud combed the scientific literature, examining more than 5,000 papers involving natural background radiation that were narrowed to 46 for quantitative comparison. The selected studies all examined both a control group and a more highly irradiated population and quantified the size of the radiation levels for each. Each paper also reported test statistics that allowed direct comparison between the studies.

The organisms studied included plants and animals, but had a large preponderance of human subjects. Each study examined one or more possible effects of radiation, such as DNA damage measured in the lab, prevalence of a disease such as Down's Syndrome, or the sex ratio produced in offspring. For each effect, a statistical algorithm was used to generate a single value, the effect size, which could be compared across all the studies.

Mousseau hopes their results, which are consistent with the "linear-no-threshold" model for radiation effects, will better inform the debate about exposure risks. "With the levels of contamination that we have seen as a result of nuclear power plants, especially in the past, and even as a result of Chernobyl and Fukushima and related accidents, there's an attempt in the industry to downplay the doses that the populations are getting, because maybe it's only one or two times beyond what is thought to be the natural background level," he said. "But they're assuming the natural background levels are fine."

"And the truth is, if we see effects at these low levels, then we have to be thinking differently about how we develop regulations for exposures, and especially intentional exposures to populations, like the emissions from nuclear power plants, medical procedures, and even some x-ray machines at airports."

Cary Renquist
cary.renquist at ezag.com

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